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12 messages
20/03/2014 at 23:20

I know I know I live in Canada, am still suffering through a -30C winter but have gotten through with gardeners world, it's kept me sane.  Plan to make a big push in my garden this year and would like to try Gunnera.  Want one of these in the front garden.  Any remarks about starting and feeding through out the growing year?  Can they be grown in a pot and brought inside after the leaves die back and stored in a cool dark place?  The root bulb looks like it can get about two feet across in a mature specimen, quite large.  I also understand to not touch the seeds with bare hands.  Anything else that will impair germination?  I look forward to this challenge and would appreciate your input.  Cheers and am praying for sun!

21/03/2014 at 01:12

Well, they are giants so I don't think they will be happy in a pot. They grow much more than 2 ft. across if they are happy.

They like to be by water.  To protect the crowns from frost the leaves are usually placed over the crowns in the Autumn.

21/03/2014 at 07:03

I can't imagine successfully containing a gunnera in a pot, let alone in a front garden!  They grow bigger than some trees! 

http://s3.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/39878.jpg?width=350

 Slightly smaller plants with similar striking architectural qualities are Astilboides tabularis, Rodgersia pinnata and Rheum palmatum, but I do not know whether they would cope with a Canadian winter - maybe someone here would know?  http://www.canadiangardening.com/forum/ 

21/03/2014 at 09:33
I have rhubarb growing next to my garden pond as a pseudo gunnera... Not sure how well rhubarb would do in a pot though.
KEF
21/03/2014 at 10:37

Hi Theresa, I wouldn't try to grow Gunnera in a pot it would just fall or blow over. It would need so much watering. I don't know about storing the crown indoors.

I have a Gunnera, due to it being in a damp area rather than by water it doesn't grow too big.  I have to water it in summer & give it an occasional liquid feed. The leaves do grow huge but it only has a few each year.  I do as Welshonion says and cover the crown with it's own leaves and if the weather is really severe have even put layers of fleece on it.

If you tried it in the soil rather than a pot I would agree with Dove and question it being hardy enough for Canadian winters .

Maybe have a look at Darmera peltata 1.5m in height and about 1m spread. This is supposed to be hardy, but again Canadian winter  I doubt this would be suitable for a pot but being smaller you could try, the pot might restrict how large it grows.

I hope you get some sun soon

21/03/2014 at 13:28

I have winters which can get to -30C here in central Belgium.  I have lost two gunneras in much less than that when the first frosts came as a surprising -8C and a -12c in mid October, before I'd got my plant covered with 3 feet of garden compost.

I am having one last try and starting small and in a pot.  I have it in a pot which has spent the winter buried up to its shoulders in an unheated but inslulated greenhouse.  This winter has been so very mild it is actively growing already.   I shall keep it in an ever increasing ceramic pot until it's too big to move and then it will have to take its chances outside again and I'll be quicker with the winter blanket.  

21/03/2014 at 18:03

 

These grow outside at Chatsworth (which is not far from us so I go and look at their gardens whenever I can.) They are never covered or anything, the huge leaves presumably protect the crown in winter - we had -18C two years ago, not as cold as you obelixx. They get to about 25 feet across  and 15 feet high, with leaves several feet across, stunning  - but even with my passion for growing nearly anything in a pot, even I wouldn't try that - poor things.   There is a tiny gunnera however, which grows to about 3 inches high, otherwise looks exactly like its huge relative, that is a joy and a delight - and alot of fun to say to people that you grow a gunnera in a pot!

KEF
21/03/2014 at 18:56

Bookeroo what is the tiny one? I'd love one of those. Have Googled and can't find it. Thanks KEF

21/03/2014 at 19:13

Thank you one and all for your input.  I will look up the plant suggestions mentioned above and yes I would love to find a smaller variety that I might have a chance at coddling.  That picture supplied of that massive plant would look smashing in my front garden - it might even cause some traffic accidents!  I have purchased a large lot that I am rebuilding. I have removed many trees that were dying due to the canopy that was trimmed to extreme so the back yard could support these giants too.  I am very envious of the climate in Britain but will have to suffice with Monty and dog to get me through to the ground thaw...

KEF
21/03/2014 at 19:23

Wish you luck Theresa, if you want to "chat" join us on Hello Forkers thread. Helps some of us when we feel "down"  You also put weight on with all the virtual cakes / vino that we enjoy

21/03/2014 at 20:11

21/03/2014 at 21:42

KEF, hi - when I grew it is was called gunnera magelenica (Hmm, not dreadfully certain of the spelling there!), at one time Beth Chatto's nursery stocked it, but no idea if they still do.   Try the plant finder on the RHS website - they will be likely to know if it is available.  There are in fact two, but I cannot recall the second ones name.  It is some years since I grew them, but they were a delight.  I'll have a look it my records and see if I can find more details, but I promise nothing!!

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